Thinking day in and day out about how we need to take care of ourselves, but not achieving it is exhausting and is making us get old and sick.
Taking responsibility, getting the right support and owning our journey has the power to help us avoid preventable illness and be lean, strong and resilient long into the future.
Research suggests that social, environmental and behavioral factors account for 60% of our health. This means we actually have way more control than we realize over how we feel and how we age.
The problem is, our healthcare system isn’t designed that way. It is designed to be reactive not proactive. You get sick, you go to the doctor – or many doctors – to get better or at least manage the symptoms that brought you there. But what about the other 5,000 hours a year when we are in charge of our own lives.
The fact is, neither our healthcare, nor our education system, really prepares us to manage the weighty responsibility of taking care of ourselves and our families. We are pretty much left to our devices to figure it out on our own.
The coach’s role is to help you navigate the space between your lifestyle and behaviors at home, and the illnesses or frustrations that are landing you in your doctor’s office. The coach’s role is unique in healthcare because the coach is focused on proactively managing transitions and preventing us from getting sick in the first place so we can live a longer, happier and healthier life.
Many of us also struggle with something we know is hurting our health and wellbeing, but we do it anyway. Maybe we aren’t eating right and have added unhealthy pounds. We’ve let our energy get low and our stress get high. We aren’t exercising or stretching as much as we should so we have pain, injuries and get tired more easily. We go to sleep later (often with our screens) and wake up more often. Maybe we have even developed a medical condition and are relying on medicine more than we would like.
Coaching is based on over three decades of research on social, behavior, health and positive psychology, and more recently, neuroscience, to understand how we form new behaviors and the mindset we need to sustain them.
Your coach offers you a “safe space” to share your concerns and aspirations, figure out the source of what is holding you back and then help you make gradual, lifelong changes to get healthier and feel better overall. Your coach is not going to replace your doctors or therapists. Instead, your coach is your sounding board, your support, and a caring partner to help you find the path that works for you and then built the confidence and tools to stick to it.
When we are there for everyone but ourselves, everyone suffers. Especially us. Rare is the opportunity to have someone completely dedicated to helping us look and feel great. Nothing beats individual sessions with a coach to help you delve deep into your goals, put in place an action plan and then get the help you need to follow through. In your own safe space, you learn to do the work yourself, to trust your gut, to find your strength and to stay the course to achieving the health and wellness you want and you and your family deserve.
Coaching works because it takes the guess work out of what we need to do, holds us compassionately accountable and supports us in overcoming the negative mindset and internal struggles that hold us back.
Some of us are what behavioral psychologists call “pre-contemplators”, our confidence has hit rock bottom or we are in denial about the need for change. Most of us though, are “contemplators”, we are thinking (sometimes all the time), about taking care of ourselves, losing weight, getting in shape or managing our stress. The thing is, we don’t make a choice and stick to it. Sometimes it’s doubt and overwhelm from too many options, sometimes we don’t have time to figure out what we need to do and many times, we just don’t have the energy to stick with it long enough on our own to make the change last.
Evidence is emerging that when we don’t have a clear life purpose, are lonely, constantly stressed, frustrated, hard on ourselves and negative, we are more likely to get sick. Our mind is powerful. The good news is, the same research shows that positive emotions and caring relationships improve our mental and physical health. Positivity actually improves major chronic disease by making your nervous, immune and endocrine systems work better.
The body of scientific research on the benefits of Health and Wellness Coaching is growing all the time. It is proven to help us eat healthier, weigh less, move more and deal more effectively with our menopause symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and anxiety. Study after study is showing that the support and lifestyle changes from health and wellness coaching can have a significant positive impact on some of the big chronic disease that are making us sick, like diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Here are some examples of what we know so far:
- A study of 11 randomized control trials (rigorous evaluations) on health and wellness coaching showed value in improving weight, blood pressure, fruit, vegetable and fat intake.
- Motivational interviewing employed by coaches has been shown to be effective in improving general health status or wellbeing, promoting physical activity, improving nutritional habits, encouraging medication adherence, and managing chronic conditions such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and diabetes.
- A Mayo Clinic study of 100 people over a twelve-week coaching program found that participating in wellness coaching was associated with improvement in three key areas of psychosocial functioning: quality of life, mood, and perceived stress levels.
Too many women were taught to believe the second half of our life is our decline or that how menopause makes us feel is out of our control. We have decided feeling lousy is just a normal part of aging and that we have to live with it. This just isn’t true. You can embrace this transition and the evidence backs it up.
- The Women’s Wellness Program delivered to 225 Australian women ages 40-65 found a significant reduction in menopausal symptoms and improved quality of life using lifestyle interventions and coaching to set goals for exercise, heathy eating among others. Anxiety and depression decreased along with vasomotor symptoms (i.e. those pesky night sweats, hot flashes, and flushes) and sexual dysfunction (read libido).
- A study of 351 women who received telephone health coaching found that coaching can help minimize mental health disturbances like depression and anxiety, when going through menopause.